Exploring the relationships between teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion, self-efficacy, behaviour management strategies, and use of exclusion in UK classrooms

Ni Ógáin, Eibhlín (2023) Exploring the relationships between teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion, self-efficacy, behaviour management strategies, and use of exclusion in UK classrooms. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

[thumbnail of 2023NiOgainEEdPsyD.pdf]
Download (2MB) | Preview


The use of both permanent exclusion (i.e. a pupil who is excluded and who will not come back to that school) and suspension (e.g., a pupil who is excluded from a school for a set period) in UK schools has increased significantly over the last 10 years (Department of Education, 2022). Given the levels of vulnerability and poor outcomes among children who are excluded (Department for Education, 2023), it is essential that we understand the factors that increase or decrease the use of exclusions. Many studies have shown that school culture, ethos, attitudes, and teaching practices affect a school’s willingness to exclude (e.g., Hatton, 2013; Warin, 2017). However, there has been limited research examining the relationships between teachers’ attitudes towards inclusion and how this might translate to differing levels of teacher self-efficacy and different behaviour management practices, including the use of exclusions. This thesis explores teacher attitudes, beliefs, and practices to understand in greater detail the teacher level factors that lead to more inclusive school atmospheres that make less use of reactive and exclusionary behaviour policies.

This thesis consists of three separate sections: 1) the literature review; 2) the empirical study and 3) the bridging and reflective chapter. The thematic literature review explores current themes in research looking at inclusive education and exclusion. It looks at recent trends around the use of exclusion in schools and the factors that have been shown to affect exclusion rates. Alongside this, the literature review also explores the factors that have been shown to foster or hinder inclusion in school. The literature review highlighted that while there is a wealth of literature examining some of the links between attitudes towards inclusion, teaching practices and exclusion, there is a gap in understanding which of these factors link to specific teaching practices (e.g., proactive and reactive behaviour management strategies) and subsequent use of exclusion. The literature review also highlighted that teachers’ stress, levels of support and teacher characteristics influence attitudes, beliefs and teaching practice, but again no study has included these in a model to predict teachers’ behaviour management and use of exclusions. Given the trend in rising levels of exclusion, and the detrimental effect this can have on children’s outcomes, it is important to understand what can be done to foster more inclusive ethe in schools and reduce the levels of exclusions. The focus of this research was therefore to survey teachers to understand their attitudes towards inclusion, their self-efficacy, use of proactive and reactive behaviour management strategies, levels of exclusions in their schools, as well looking at teacher characteristics, levels of stress and support. The study examined specific relationships between all these constructs to better understand how teacher level and school ethos factors can lead seemingly similar schools to have significantly different practices when it comes to inclusion and levels of exclusion.

104 teachers responded to the online survey. Path analysis showed that teachers’ positive attitudes towards inclusion significantly predicted higher rates of self-efficacy, which in turn predicted proactive behaviour management and less use of exclusionary behaviour management strategies. This adds to our knowledge of what teacher-level factors lead to a pro-inclusive ethos at school as well as contribute to the use of exclusions. Regression analysis also showed that teachers’ levels of stress moderated the relationship between teachers’ reactive behaviour management and use of exclusionary strategies. MANOVA analysis showed that there were significant differences in teachers’ self-efficacy and behaviour management strategies depending on school stage, gender, and the levels of deprivation or affluence of the area they taught in. Secondary level, being male and teaching in an area of high deprivation were all linked to higher use of reactive behaviour management and use of exclusions. These results show the importance of engaging with teacher attitude and belief systems in fostering inclusive schools and reducing the use of exclusions, and these factors should be considered in the design of any training or support for school staff that aims to improve inclusion.

Finally, the bridging and reflective chapter explores the personal experience of carrying out the research project. This covers my personal identification with the research topic, reflections on the design, methods, and analysis processes as well as exploring the ethical issues and limitations associated with the research. This chapter also reflects on the implications of this research project on professional development as well as for the wider knowledge base within Educational Psychology practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 23 May 2024 07:00
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 07:00
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/95287


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item